Chicago Blackhawks: 2013-14 season

Hossa ready to test back in scrimmage

September, 12, 2013
9/12/13
3:42
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa described his back as “much stronger” and “better” following the first day of training camp at Notre Dame on Thursday, but he thought Friday’s scrimmage would be the true test.

Hossa suffered a back injury during the Stanley Cup finals last season. He said one of the discs in his back was shooting into his nerves, and he couldn’t feel his right foot. He was scratched from Game 3 of the Stanley Cup finals and returned for Game 4, but he wasn’t as effective the last three games. Hossa was able to avoid surgery in the offseason.

Hossa participated fully in Thursday’s practice and was hopeful he’d be cleared to participate in Friday’s scrimmage.

“I would like to be,” Hossa said. “I got to talk to the coaches and staff, but I believe I will be. I really want to be because I want to test myself whether it’s OK or not.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said later Thursday that Hossa would play in the scrimmage. Quenneville also said Michal Rozsival and Michal Handzus will be held out of scrimmages for a few days, but they will participate in practices.

Hossa, who will turn 35 in January, said he’s learned how to take care of his body better after a variety of injuries over the years. He played in 40 games last season (not counting playoffs) and had 31 points.

“What I found is everybody’s body is a little bit different,” Hossa said. “But for myself, you have to take the time to really heal yourself. I think that’s really important. I know the summer wasn’t too long, but I had lots of time off, and I started slowly again. Like when I had the concussion, I took my time. So I feel like on the ice my back is much, much stronger and better. For me, that’s the key. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be skating or having contact if I had a little doubt in my head.”

Quenneville also thought he may have to watch Hossa's minutes.

“I think that’s something we’re always aware of -- health and in different situations and backing off guys, whether it’d being practice days, ice time in games,” Quenneville said. “Hossa, I don’t want to say he’s getting older, but if you’re not ready to play, you’re not ready to play. I think that’s something we’ll watch. It’s nice to see he’s started here and he’s ready to go. But that … works itself out. We have a pretty good feel on our training staff, doctors, players and coach.”

This season will be critical for Crawford

August, 22, 2013
8/22/13
5:39
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Corey CrawfordAP Photo/Nam Y. HuhWill the Blackhawks let another Cup-winning goalie in Corey Crawford walk after this season?
Chicago Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman has been one of goaltender Corey Crawford's biggest supporters.

Bowman continued to back Crawford when others were demanding a change in net. Bowman's confidence in Crawford paid off last season when Crawford played better than he ever had and helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup.

Crawford will be Bowman's and the Blackhawks' guy again this upcoming season, but his future is less certain. Bowman will have to answer two vital questions this season to determine that future. Is Crawford a top-10 goaltender? If so, can the Blackhawks afford to pay him as one?

What Crawford does this season should supply the answer to the first question. It's difficult to gauge whether Crawford, who will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, is one of the league's premier goaltenders.

Crawford was undoubtedly one during the 2013 season. He was tied for second in the league with a 1.94 goals-against average, tied for fifth with a .926 save percentage and was fifth with a 67.9 quality start percentage among goaltenders with at least 15 starts (a stat created by Hockey Prospectus to determine a goaltender's consistency). His 1.84 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in the playoffs were further proof of his stellar season.

(Read full post)

Regular-season tickets on sale Monday

August, 15, 2013
8/15/13
1:39
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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The Chicago Blackhawks announced Thursday that United Center single-game tickets for the 2013-14 regular season will go on sale at 10 a.m. on Monday.

The Blackhawks, the defending Stanley Cup champions, will begin their season at home against the Washington Capitals on Oct. 1. It’s the first time the Blackhawks will open the season at the United Center since the 2005-06 season.

The Blackhawks will have 40 home games at the United Center and one home game at Soldier Field. Tickets for the Soldier Field outdoor game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on March 1, 2014 will be sold separately by the NHL at a future date.

The Blackhawks’ schedule includes 24 weekend games and three season-high four-game homestands. Home evening games have been moved to 7 p.m. this season.

The Blackhawks began the 2013 season with a NHL-record 24-game points streak. They went 18-3-3 at home during the regular season and 11-2 at home during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Blackhawks’ tickets can be purchased at chicagoblackhawks.com, by calling 1-800-745-3000 or by visiting any Ticketmaster location.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26